Being a specific body type (read: slim, toned, without bulges) is always desirable. If you don’t fit here, you are usually desirable only as a part of some fetish, like ‘BBW’ or Big Beautiful/Bold Woman or not even that because a which bro would sleep with a ‘fatty’ right?
I am broad. I have stretch marks crawling on my skin, and flesh is bulging out from my body. I do not fit into the ‘image’ the world considers beautiful, sometimes I am not even acceptable.
My body is everybody’s business but mine. But, I didn’t sign up for it!
I have been bullied and ridiculed my entire life. Everyone from friends to cousins to anyone at all feel comfortable saying the most degrading, demeaning things, often disguised as jokes. The name-calling never really stops. And I am supposed to be okay with it. Why you ask? I wish I knew.
Supposedly, if you don’t conform to societal norms, this society will choke you till the time you literally want to stop breathing. Maybe that will drown out the comments, the names and the sniggers? Maybe, not. They can even laugh at lifeless people and things. Yes, the world is that heartless and I learned this way too early in life. A bit too early for a 6-year-old who was ridiculed even before she could spell.
When you are young, you don’t even get it for a while. Sometimes you laugh along, because, hey, they are adults and they must have picked up some joke that your innocent, stupid mind did not. But the fact that you are the joke struck a lot later in life.
They will say it’s because you are lazy or you eat too much. No one can make them understand that there are several medical conditions, which are not yet curable and come with this body type as a side effect. Or sometimes it’s just a dead metabolism that will make you fat. The need of the hour is some sensitivity, which is really not asking for much.
The constant body shaming, be it through pop culture, the media or in your own household and social circle, pushes you to the edge. People don’t always talk about it, and it’s crueller if you are a woman because the first thing you are told is “Who will marry you if you look like this?” Because as a woman, the only fulfilment that you really need is when a man makes you his wife. Kudos society, kudos!
You play the charade and keep plastering your face with a smile, till it hardens and you can’t feel it anymore. The thought of death is often a looming reality in my imagination.A few things give do give me some hope, chief among them is poetry.
Text and pictures by Priyanka Bansal. Some pictures were created and some captured for their symbolic merit and content. They aim to depict a state of mind.